Scroll down to see our staff bios and artists in residency.
Professional Goal ~ To create a quality training school for students to experience the art of dance & performance in an atmosphere promoting self- esteem & achievement.
Education ~ Bryant & Stratton /Business Administration, SUNY Brockport / Dance Training, Certified to teach Dance Educators of America, Dance Masters of America and Professional Dance Teachers of America.
Established A Touch of Dance Performing Arts Studio, Inc. 1978
Established A Touch of Children’s Theatre 2000
Collaborative Community Benefits raising monies for health needed individuals
Implemented National Dance Week Celebration throughout Rochester NY
Woman of the Year in the Arts by Italian American Woman’s Association
Best Choreography Awards Fame National Show Choir Competition Show Stoppers National Competitions, RBTI Stars of Tomorrow
College Scholarship & Professional Guidance
University of Michigan, Carnegie Melon University, University at Buffalo, Marymount University, Point Park University, Syracuse University, Baldwin Wallace University, Greensboro College, Wright State, Nazareth College. Radio City Rockettes, Professional Tours, Entertainment Companies, Cruise Ships, Movie & Screen.
Fundraising & Sponsorships
American Heart Association, CURE Childhood Cancer, Gilda’s Club, Center for Youth Rochester, Pirate Toy Fund, Dance Rochester!, School of the Holy Childhood, Fringe Festival
Promise..... to emerge in the growing age of dance & performance according to the times & student’s ambitions.
Alyssa grew up studying under Judy Brondon at A Touch of Dance. Furthering her studies, Alyssa graduated with a B.A. in Dance from the University at Buffalo. Following college, Alyssa moved to New York City where she studied with various teachers and choreographers in the Professional Semester program at Broadway Dance Center. She has had the opportunity to perform in dance companies, music videos, televised performances, and flashmobs working with performers and artists such as Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan, Nicki Minaj, Psy, and Shaggy. From there Alyssa traveled west where she performed and choreographed in fabulous Las Vegas. Alyssa currently resides in Rochester teaching at A Touch of Dance along with choreographing for Greece Athena's High School Show Choir.
“ I am fortunate enough to get the chance to share my passion and knowledge of dance with the next generation of performers at ATOD."
Gina has been a part of A Touch of Dance since she began dancing at the age of five. She studied under the direction of Judy L Brondon for 13 years. She attended the University at Buffalo where she received her BA in dance education. Gina went on to Canisius College where she attained her MS in special/childhood education. This is her 10th year teaching at the studio.
Gina is a pre-k Special Education Teacher in the Rochester City School District. She also choreographs for high schools in the Rochester area and enjoys sharing her passion, love and knowledge for dance with all of her students. Gina lives in Greece with her husband, Craig, and their two daughters, Irelynn and Mila.
“Dance with your heart and your feet will follow"
A Touch of Dance has been a second home to Sara. She began dancing at the age of four, under the direction of Judy Brondon. She attended SUNY Geneseo where she was a member of the Geneseo Dance Ensemble and the co-captain of the dance team known as the Knightline. She graduated with a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education. She moved to Washington DC and taught in Northern Virginia at an elementary school. While working there, Sara choreographed school's productions and chorus concerts. She also coached competitive cheerleading at Dominion High School for two years. After graduating with her M. Ed in Literacy from the University of Virginia, she moved home to Rochester. She then pursued a M. Ed in Educational Leadership at St. John Fisher and is currently a school administrator. Sara enjoys sharing her love for dance with our youngest dancers, including her two daughters, Ava and Briella.
Wyatt Pendleton, born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, started dancing musical theater at Kids Unlimited at the age of 11. He discovered his love of ballet at 16 and went to Ballet Arts Tucson to formalize his ballet training. He graduated from the University of Utah with a B.F.A in Ballet and had the opportunity there to perform principal roles in productions like “Coppélia”, “Cinderella”, and George Balanchine’s “Walspurgisnacht”. After graduation he spent two years in the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II program and performed in many different works and full ballets by the likes of Michael Pink, Timothy O’Donnell, Kristohpher Estes-Brown, Thom Dancy and others. Wyatt is currently in his third season with Rochester City Ballet.
Hailey is part of the second generation in her family to dance at A Touch of Dance under the instruction of Judy Brondon. After 15 years with ATOD studying both dance and musical theatre, Hailey attended Syracuse University and received a B.S. in Broadcast and Digital Journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. While at Syracuse, Hailey continued training in ballet and modern dance under the direction of Larry Crabtree, as well as hip hop, tap, and dance conditioning. She also continued performing in several musicals that took place at the Schine Student Center's Mainstage and Black-Box venues. She was heavily involved with SU's student theatre organization, First Year Players, where she was an assistant choreographer and director for different musical productions. Following graduation in the spring of 2020, Hailey returned to Rochester and could not be happier to be back at her second home, A Touch of Dance. She feels so lucky to be teaching alongside the incredible faculty that instilled her passion for dance!
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul”
Sarah has been affiliated with A Touch of Dance since 1983 as a student and now a teacher. She trained with Judy Brondon for 15 years before heading to New York City to receive her B.F.A. in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College. She attended and received scholarships to many dance intensives including; the New York State Summer School for the Arts, Pointe Park College Summer Dance, and Hofstra University's American Theatre Dance Workshop. While in NYC, she had the privilege to be on scholarship at the New Dance Group, where she trained and performed with top NYC teachers. She has had the pleasure to perform with the Hartford Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Rochester City Ballet, and the Marymount Manhattan Dance Company. Sarah is a life-long learner and continues to study and do research. She completed her Masters in Library Science, and is currently a library professional with the University of Rochester.
Shawna, a graduate of Nazareth College with a Master's Degree in Education, is no stranger to A Touch of Dance. She spent many years as a student under the direction of Judy Brondon. She developed into a teaching assistant during her years in high school, and quickly realized she could not stop there. Since 2001 Shawna has been a Dance Instuctor for A Touch of Dance's Children's Program. She has a genuine love for dance combined with a passion and talent working with pre-school and elementary age children. Her experience in the field of dance, her education, and her work with children, offers an exciting dance experoience and foundation for our youngest students.
Shawna Nowicki Spriggs
Mackenzie is a 2014 graduate of Greece Athena High School. She went on to pursue a degree in Music Theatre and graduated with her B.M. (Bachelor of Music) in Music Theatre in 2018. She became a member of the Actors Equity Association in 2018 and was represented by The Mine during the time she spent in NYC. She’s performed regionally at Great Lakes Theatre Company, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Playhouse Square, The Beck Center and more.
Artists in Residency
Sarah Dearstyne was born and raised in Rochester, NY. She is a proud A Touch of Dance Alumni who went on to pursue the arts in college. She graduated from Anderson University (Indiana) with a BA in Dance Performance. Sarah has participated in dance programs across the country such as Earl Mosely's Institute of the Arts, Hubbard Street's Choreographic Intensive, Point Park University's Summer Dance, and Broadway Dance Center's Professional Semester. Sarah was thrilled to be cast in the First National Tour of the broadway musical Bandstand. She traveled with the company for five months as a Swing/ Julia Trojan understudy. She is passionate about dance education, and loves working with the ATOD students as a guest faculty member/ choreographer.
Olivia Fabian grew up in Rochester, NY and is a proud A Touch of Dance alumni. She will be graduating from Marymount Manhattan College in May of 2021 with a double major in Dance and Biomedical Sciences. At Marymount she has trained in ballet and modern styles; O’Donnell, Nikolais, Graham, Limon and Horton, in addition to taking several pedagogy, somatic, and mind body connection classes. She is furthering her training currently at the Institute for American Musical Theatre’s 2-year professional training program in NYC where she takes classes in musical theatre dance, hip-hop, jazz, tap, ballet and modern, as well as acting and vocal lessons. Olivia has participated in several dance summer programs including the Joffrey Ballet School Jazz and Contemporary Intensive NYC, Dance Masters of America SHIP program and the Commercial Dance Intensive both as a student and as a work study. Olivia loves getting to teach and share her love for performing with the students of A Touch of Dance when she visits home.
Frankie Paparone: A Rochester native who has worked all over the country for the past 10 years post earning a BFA in musical theatre. New York credits include Shrek and Elf. Tours: Elf and Fame. Off Broadway: I Spy a Spy. Regional: Goodspeed Opera House, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Kennedy Center, North Shore Music Theatre, St. Louis Muny, Ogunquit Playhouse, Maine State Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Geva Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Gateway Playhouse, Northern Stage, Actors Playhouse and Westchester Broadway. Some of his favorite productions include Legally Blonde, Hello Dolly!, and Mamma Mia. In addition to performing, Frankie loves passing along his passion for the fine arts.
Dana René/ Office Manager
Tania Casini/ Custom Costumes
Alison Cuchiarale/ Voice & Piano Instructor
Kathryn Dyer/ Summer Theatre Director
Sal Cupo Set Construction
Brian King/ Voiceover Announcements
Sarah Zanni/ Photography
Mary Beth Germano/ Backstage Coordinator